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Border Contraceptive Access Study, El Paso, Texas 2005-2008 (ICPSR 32561)

Principal Investigator(s):


Oral contraceptive (OC) users living in El Paso, Texas were interviewed to assess motivations for patronizing a United States clinic or a Mexican pharmacy with over-the-counter (OTC) pills and to determine which women were likely to use the OTC option. The experiences of OC users who obtained their contraception from Mexican pharmacies were compared with those of women who obtained their pills from family planning clinics in El Paso, Texas, where eligible low-income women often pay nothing. 532 clinic users and 514 pharmacy users were surveyed about background characteristics, motivations for choosing their oral contraception source, and satisfaction with this source. For more information, please see the Border Contraceptive Access Study website.

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.


Study Description


Potter, Joseph E., Kristine Hopkins, Jon Amastae, and Daniel Grossman. Border Contraceptive Access Study, El Paso, Texas 2005-2008. ICPSR32561-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2011-11-07.

Persistent URL:

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)


This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (R01 HD047816)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   birth control, family planning, generic drugs, health, health behavior, health care access, health care costs, health care delivery, health care facilities, health education, health expenditures, health insurance, health policy, Hispanic or Latino origins, immigrants, immigration, immigration policy, immigration status, intimate partners, Medicaid, Mexican Americans, native born, place of birth, place of residence, pregnancy, public assistance programs, single mothers, unwanted pregnancies, unwed mothers

Smallest Geographic Unit:   city

Geographic Coverage:   Chihuahua, Ciudad Juarez, El Paso, Mexico, Texas, United States

Time Period:  

  • 2005--2008

Date of Collection:  

  • 2006-12
  • 2008-02

Unit of Observation:   individual

Universe:   Oral contraceptive users in El Paso, Texas aged 18 to 44 years old.

Data Types:   survey data


Study Purpose:   Oral contraception (OC) currently requires a prescription. It has been suggested that this requirement should be eliminated. In the debate over removing the prescription requirement, two of the questions that need to be addressed are why women might prefer pharmacy access instead of obtaining pills at clinics, and who would take advantage of the pharmacy option if it were made available. So far, most of the evidence on these points has come from studies of women residing in countries other than the United States or from answers to hypothetical questions addressed to women in this country. To explore these questions, this study was conducted along the United States-Mexico border, where women who live in the United States are afforded an unusual opportunity: crossing the border, they can purchase over-the-counter (OTC) hormonal contraception at pharmacies for a reasonable price -- approximately US$5 per cycle. The motivations and experiences of OC users who obtained their contraception from Mexican pharmacies are compared with those of women who obtained their pills from family planning clinics in El Paso, Texas, where eligible low-income women often pay nothing.

Study Design:   The sample was recruited from El Paso without stratification or primary sampling units.

Sample:   1046 El Paso resident OC users aged 18 to 44 years were recruited. Some clinic users were recruited from the major family planning providers in El Paso. However, recruiting pharmacy users at pharmacies in Ciudad Juárez proved to be impractical, so virtually the entire pharmacy user sample and a considerable proportion of the clinic sample were recruited through announcements, flyers, presentations at local community centers, and referrals. Participants resided in 46 different zip codes, 16 of which had more than 20 participants. The sample was not stratified by level of education or socioeconomic status; nevertheless, it did not typically include women who used health insurance or personal funds to obtain prescriptions from private physicians in the United States, then purchased OCs at pharmacies in Mexico.

Time Method:   Longitudinal

Mode of Data Collection:   face-to-face interview

Description of Variables:   Each of the five datasets include verbatim text responses from the participants. Many of these responses are in Spanish.

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


Original ICPSR Release:  

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